Perkins Presents Religion, Forgiveness – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Perkins Presents Religion, Forgiveness

Wesley Perkins, professor of sociology, presented a paper on “Exploring the Persistent Links among Religious Commitment, Forgiveness, and Personal Well-Being in Adulthood” at the Annual Meetings of the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion and the Religious Research Association in Denver, Colo., from Oct. 23 through 25.  His research demonstrates the strong and persistent contribution of forgiveness-both forgiving others and one’s self in life experiences-to reducing psychological distress and poor health.  It also examines the positive contribution of adults’ spiritual interests to their ability to be forgiving. 

The study is part of Perkins’ larger ongoing research project on adult well-being in post-collegiate life based on a large sample of HWS graduates. This particular study included data collected among graduates in their young to middle-aged lives at three time points between 1999 and 2008 and included nine graduating cohorts ranging from the class of 1979 to the class of 2006.

With the aid of a John Templeton Foundation grant, Perkins has been involved in a project to understand “Forgiveness, Health and Well-Being in the Lives of Post-Collegiate Young Adults.” In this project, of which the study is a part, he has conducted in-depth interviews as well as broad-based surveys of adults in their 20s to 40s focusing on how they define, practice, or struggle with forgiving others and themselves and how this is directly related to personal health.  More information about Perkins’ Post-Collegiate Life Project is online:

Perkins received the B.A. in sociology from Purdue University, the M.Div. from Yale Divinity School, and the M.A., M. Phil., and Ph.D. in sociology from Yale University.